Al Haramain v. Obama

This case alleges alleges that the Bush Administration illegally targeted the leaders of an Islamic charity and their lawyers for warrantless surveillance by the NSA. Their claims are based on a secret document that was accidentally disclosed to the plaintiffs by the government that the plaintiffs allege demonstrates they were subjected to warrantless wiretapping (the contents of the document are tightly sealed as a state secret).

In 2008, the Federal District Court held that "FISA preempts the state secrets privilege in connection with electronic surveillance for intelligence purposes and would appear to displace the state secrets privilege for purposes of plaintiffs’ claims." The Court rejected the expansive view of executive power promoted by the government, holding that the President's authorities under Article II of the Constitution do not give him the power to overrule FISA.

The case was subsequently dismissed by the 9th Circuit on the grounds of sovereign immunity.

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NSA Spying

EFF is leading the fight against the NSA's illegal mass surveillance program. Learn more about what the program is, how it works, and what you can do.

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